[Video:Occupy Albany's peaceful march on May 1st, 2012.]
In yet another victory for the Occupy movement, all charges were dismissed against 20 Occupy Albany protesters who were arrested on May Day after the District Attorney notified the court that he would not prosecute peaceful protesters.
A City Court judge has dismissed the cases of 20 Occupy Albany protesters arrested last week for violating the state curfew in Lafayette Park across from the Capitol.
Judge Thomas Keefe dismissed the trespassing and disorderly conduct charges — both noncriminal violations — Monday after District Attorney David Soares' office notified the court it would again decline to prosecute the offenses.
The protesters were arrested May 1 for staying in the park after an 11 p.m. curfew, the validity of which they refused to acknowledge.
Soares has refused to prosecute nonviolent protesters who are exercising their First Amendment rights without damaging property or injuring police — a stance he reiterated last week when Occupy Albany prepared to return to the downtown parks in force for the first time since December.
"I'm not going to be prosecuting peaceful protesters," Soares said last week. "So long as we have no damage to property or injury to police, I will continue to abide by the peaceful coexistence policy we implemented when the Occupy movement was here late last year."
A quick "Google" search, and you can see the pages upon pages of reports from across the country of "Charges Dropped" against Occupy protesters. As the lawsuits against individual cities and police departments roll in for wrongful arrests, and injuries received during arrests and protests it will bear watching to see if this begins to translate into a general acceptance of the movement's First Amendment right of free speech and an end to the brutal oppression by some police forces.